Why you need a Will or a Living Trust.
You have the
right to decide who inherits from you!
As an Experienced
Estate Planning Attorney and Probate Attorney, I help my
clients exercise their right to choose the beneficiaries of your
Estate. The way to do that is to put your wishes into a written
document – usually a Will or a Living Trust that identifies the
people who you choose to inherit from you. If you do not make a
Will or a Living Trust, the California has rules for
distributing your assets. In my Probate work, I often see cases
where someone did not execute a Will or a Trust (or did not use
an Estate Planning Attorney to do it correctly). In those
cases, the Probate Code will determine how your estate will be
divided. The statutes are not unfair. However, as often as
not, the statutes do not reflect the wishes of the person who
What do you need to do if you want your husband or wife to
inherit from you?
Most people want their spouse to inherit all
of their joint and separate property. However, if you don’t
have a Will or a Trust and have one child, your separate
property will be divided equally between your spouse and your
child; if you have two or more children, your spouse will
receive a one-third interest and your children will divide the
other two-thirds of your estate.
Are you separated, but not
If you and your spouse are separated, you may not want
your spouse to inherit from you. If you don’t have a Will, you
are both treated as married and your estranged spouse will
inherit from you.
Are you single with no children?
If you die
without a Will, your assets will go to your next of kin whether
you know them or not and whether you intended them to inherit or
not. Your estate does not automatically go to your siblings:
the law states that it goes to your parents children. If you
have a brother or sister, but your father had other children
from another marriage (even if you never met them), your brother
or sister will share the estate with your father’s other
Do you already have a Will?
Even with a Will, if you
own a home or have an estate greater than $150,000, your estate
will likely end up in Probate court. To avoid Probate, you
should have a Living Trust. Your property and assets will be
transferred to your intended heirs more quickly and easily.